For travellers who are looking for a vibrant city with ancient roots, Chiang Mai is the perfect destination. The Old City of Chiang Mai has some of the most iconic landmarks in Thailand and is full of hidden gems that you won’t find anywhere else. We have compiled a list of things to do in this part of town so you can enjoy your stay even more! Once you have your visa in order, the next thing to do it to work out how you’re going to enjoy you’re time in beautiful Thailand!
A quick and easy way to see the sites of Old City is by taking a guided tour. There are many operators offering guided tours, including bike tours through Chiang Mai’s historic neighborhoods, walking tours through the local markets, and tuk tuks that will take you around town for a more privately guided tour experience. You can also book your own private car or van for an even more personalised experience!
One highlight on any Chiang Mai Walking Tour are the countless souvenirs available at each stop. The city offers everything from traditional Thai goods such as textiles, paper lanterns and silver-smithing to chic contemporary designs in ceramics and jewelry. Some sellers even offer a variety of one-of-a-kind handmade items.
The main way to explore Old City is on foot. Places like Wat Phra Singh are easily accessible via tuk tuks or walking tours from nearby attractions such as the Night Bazaar on Chang Khlan Road, while others like Thapae Gate can be seen more closely during a bicycle ride through town. For example, there’s plenty of food vendors who sell delicious treats to eat as you go along – just make sure not to get any on your clothes!
The best way to really experience the Old City is by following one of the many walking tours. These range in price from free 90-minute beginner walks offered daily, which cover all the basics about this historic neighborhood, or more comprehensive day trips that give visitors a chance to explore other parts of town as well.
Cycle Chiang Mai
There’s also plenty of tour agencies around Chiang Mai with different offerings such as cycling excursions through nearby villages and countryside, visits to local temples (Thai Buddhist) outside old city walls or even foodie adventures where you can learn how Thai dishes are made first hand.
Be sure to check out the Chiang Mai Old City moat, and get a look at some of the ancient brickwork that makes up the wall. Take some photos near Thapae Gate and enjoy some local cuisine at various stops along the way.
Grab a Drink
If you’re looking for a good place to kick back and have some drinks with locals, head over to the Chiang Mai Gate Bar where they serve up an impressive list of cocktails and beers while playing vinyl from their extensive collection behind the bar.
In terms of restaurants you’ll be spoiled for choice, with a huge variety of foods from all around the globe. You can find anything here, from raw vegan to Italian, Northern Thai to Chinese Hot Pot. Just have a wander around and see what catches your eye, or check reviews on Google and see what others rate as the best restaurants nearby. Chiang Mai has an extensive range of international cuisine available and you won’t be disappointed.
Above are a few of our favorite things to do in the old city, but there’s plenty more we could list here. If you’re looking to get some shopping done then head over to Nimmanhaemin Road where all sorts of shops will entice your wallet and tempt you with great deals on clothes or electronics as well as local artisans selling their handmade crafts. You can also find heaps of markets around town that sell everything from fresh vegetables and fruit grown locally to specialty souvenirs brought in by traders from neighboring villages or townships depending on what time it is (e.g., early morning market).
Whatever you decide to do, we’re sure you’ll have a great time in our wonderful city. Welcome to Chiang Mai, we’re glad you could stop by!